“It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America,” said Patricia Arquette, receiving enthusiastic applause from all those in the audience as we viewers watched Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez heartily cheer on her comments. As women, we can appreciate Arquette using this moment to shine light on an issue that should be promptly resolved. The income inequality issue is prevalent not only here in the United States but also around the world. We will discuss the issue as it pertains to the United States.
First, let’s take a look at gender inequality in the entertainment business. As reported from the Sony hack that just occurred one of the widely-reported hacked e-mails indicated that three male stars of the movie “American Hustle” Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner, and Bradley Cooper are to take home 9% of the movie’s profits. However, Amy Adams is only receiving 7% and Jennifer Lawrence only 5%. This movie serves as an example and a small fraction of the inequality that occurs in this country. While we understand that the lawyers or managers negotiate the actor’s contract and there are many moving parts that determine an actors pay, it is important to note the difference between the pay of men and women.
Moreover on a national scale 27 women now serve as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. To emphasize, that is only 4.4% of the largest U.S. companies. Women in every state experience the pay gap, but some states are more drastic than others. It has been reported that the ideal place in the U.S. for pay equity is Washington, D.C., where women were paid 91 percent of what men were paid in 2013. In Louisiana, women were paid just 66 percent of what men were paid. There are many compelling arguments for the cause of the pay gap. Education however, is not valid as women outpace men in college enrollments. For 2012, 76% of women enrolled versus 62% of males. Regardless, of enrollments, at every level of academic achievement, women’s median earnings are less than men’s earnings, and in some cases, the gender pay gap is larger at higher levels of education.
As women we have to be able to speak out on this matter in order to bring about change. Let’s take advantage of our opportunities by continuing to get an education and making our presence known whether that is in the entertainment business or in corporate America. The facts presented are just a fraction of what is available out there for us to consider. We want to know what you think. What are some possible solutions to close the gap? How important is it to close the gap? We look forward to hearing your thoughts.